Organisational Excellence

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Operational Assessment Introduction
Evaluation of Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge Programme

Organisational Excellence is the delivery of a sustainable, enhanced performance that meets and exceeds expectations. It addresses how the culture of the workforce and organisational transformation can deliver a future Fire and Rescue Service that is community focused and provides value for money services.

Whether it is through self-assessments using the industry standard Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge or the robust, external international European Foundation for Quality Management Excellence Model (EFQM), FRSs across the UK aspire to achieve sustainable excellence.

In 2014, the Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge processes were updated to take account of changes within the Sector and to also reflect the challenges facing FRSs as they manage reducing budgets whilst seeking to improve, thrive and innovate.

In addition to reviewing the operational elements of the Self-Assessment, Fire Peer Challenge now also focuses on leadership, governance, corporate capacity and financial planning and how FRA delivers outcomes for the communities it serves.

The Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge are led by the Sector for the Sector, ensuring that there is a full understanding of the challenges FRSs face and their aims.

It’s free, done at a time to suit your FRS and focuses on the areas you want to improve.

The Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge process is designed to:

  • Form a structured and consistent basis to drive continuous improvement within the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Provide elected members on fire authorities, and chief officers, with information that allows them to challenge their operational service delivery, and their organisational effectiveness, to ensure they are efficient, effective and robust

The Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge will:

  • Assist the Fire and Rescue Authority to identify its service's strengths and areas to explore
  • Inform the FRA's strategic improvement plans
  • Deliver a robust process for assessing operational performance
  • Complement, not duplicate any national requirements for financial audit, including the value for money judgement
  • Be used as a tool to assist FRAs in the identification and dissemination of notable pratice
  • Be flexible in design, and simple in delivery

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The benefits of fire peer challenge
Introduction to Operational Assessment & Fire Peer Challenge
Operational Assessment & Fire Peer Challenge Toolkit
Operational Assessment & Fire Peer Challenge Fire peer challenge
Operational Assessment & Fire Peer Challenge Appendices


If you would like to discuss or sign up to an Operational Assessment or Fire Peer Challenge please contact us using this form

The success of the Fire Peer Challenge not only relies on an initial honest self-assessment from the FRS taking the challenge, but also a highly qualified team of Peers from authorities and organisations that the FRSs can relate to

Who's in the team?

A standard fire peer challenge team is made up of six people:

  • The team will be led by a serving chief executive/chief fire officer
  • A further two officers from FRS and/or from other public sector organisations with specific expertise at group manager or equivalent level and above
  • A FRA member peer
  • An officer from another public sector organisation external to the FRS (optional)
  • A LGA programme manager to act as peer challenge manager
Details of the individual Roles can be found in the Fire Peer Challenge Toolkit

Should a FRA’s specific requirements make it necessary, the number of people on a peer challenge team can be amended, for example to focus on a specific area in more depth or to bring in expertise from another sector such as Local Government. There may also be occasions when, for the purposes of gaining first-hand experience of a peer challenge, the LGA requests permission for another LGA member of staff to participate

Become a peer
Buckinghamshire FRS
Cambridgeshire FRS
Gloucestershire FRS

Humberside FRS
Merseyside FRS
North Yorkshire FRS

Royal Berkshire FRS
Suffolk FRS
West Yorkshire FRS

Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) can now commission another FREE Fire Peer Challenge, to be undertaken at a time of their own choosing.

The Operational assessment and Fire Peer Challenge Toolkit provides all the information needed to prepare to take your self-assessment and sign up to Fire Peer Challenge

Fire Peer Challenge is delivered at no direct cost to the receiving Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA). A number of FRSs have already booked their Fire Peer Challenge for the autumn of 2015 and spring/summer of 2016

It is recommended that FRAs undertake a self-assessment against the Operational Assessment toolkit every three years. Doing so is a prerequisite for having a Fire Peer Challenge. It should be undertaken in a spirit of providing genuine challenge and looking to further enhance self-awareness

If you are interested in your Fire and Rescue Authority commissioning a Fire Peer Challenge, please contact:

Chris Bowron
Programme Manager, Fire Peer Challenge
Email: chris.bowron@local.gov.uk

If you would like to discuss the Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge process, please contact:

Joy Brindle
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
E-mail: joy.brindle@twfire.gov.uk
Telephone: 0191 444 1601

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